There are some interesting comments here, though I am also one not entirely in agreement with the OP's perspective. Not that it he is wrong or
innacurate, just that there is more to it - there's always two sides to every story.
As a very long-term expat, I've had my fair share of rorts over the years, both big and small scale (at the same time, had just as many rorts on
prices and dishonest practices in my home country). That said, incidences of honesty, generosity and genuine goodwill from Chinese have massively
outweighed any such rorts by a factor of hundred to one or more at rough estimate.
It's true too that foreigners are generally targetted with higher prices, only at markets and smaller stores as a rule, but that's easy to get around
once you know the prices, not hard once you've been in China for a while. Getting local prices is pretty easy. And bargaining at markets is standard
fare. Doing business is another matter and yes, pretty cut-throat, but where isn't?
The main point I disagree on though would be service. I find the opposite: I have not been to another country, ever, which is more service oriented
and done with humility and goodwill than China. Got a problem with electricity? One phone call and the local govt electrician (on 24-hr call) is round
in 15-20 minutes, fixes the problem with a smile, all free of charge. Similarly with other utility companies.
I bank with two state banks, and the service has been exceptional. Fast, friendly, and free of charge (or very very minor built in charges). I find
the banks actually bend over backwards to fix problems, and getting on to a friendly customer service manager on the phone is two clicks away, not a
20-minute wait and 20 auto-menu button choices away as my experience outside China. In fact. my experience with banks out of China has been a most
unpleasant opposite from the service profferred in China.
Want to fly overseas? A quick phonecall, and your tickets are delivered within a couple of hours to your door. And as with nearly all deliveries,
people come at the time they specified.
Restaurants too, always friendly and even over serviced if anything. I could go on but don't want to bore...
I would say though OP, I hope you have left for at least 30 consecutive days over the past 6 years, as technically you are now required to be taxed
on, and declare, your worldwide income if not (after 5 years). The government is cracking down on expats and taxes too, and it's something they can
hold over your head should you fall foul on some matter with them. Also, if you've been doing visa runs to HK or elsewhere, sounds like you have most
likely been working illegally at some stage. Be careful of tax evasion, as there is no statute of limitations in terms of time that the government can
pursue you on work performed, but tax evaded. Your entry and exit dates are kept and it is not difficult for them to check....I know several expats
who have been audited. Big fines and even jail time can apply. Not being a smartarse or suggesting anything as you are probably aware of this and
indeed everything may be above board, just noting as it always pays to keep a clean nose so to speak.
edit on 21-10-2012 by cloudbreak
because: (no reason given)